Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
Jan 17, 2019

Media Release – Statement on the Removal of the MV Mariloula & MV Lowlands Brilliance from Bluescope Freight Services

Australia’s maritime laws exist to protect jobs for Australian workers on trade between domestic ports from being undercut by exploited foreign workers who have been shown to be paid as little as $2 an hour.

The Government must prevent the loss of these Australian jobs by not issuing temporary licenses for any replacement ships that don’t have Australian crews under Australian conditions on the leg between Port Hedland and Port Kembla.

This cynical move is against the intent of existing maritime laws, which requires the Government to uphold the national interest as Labor would.

The iron boat trade has for more than 100 years secured Australian industry in times of war and peace and is absolutely essential for our economic independence and national security.

Jan 17, 2019

Media Release – Statement on the Removal of the MV Mariloula & MV Lowlands Brilliance from Bluescope Freight Services – Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Australia’s maritime laws exist to protect jobs for Australian workers on trade between domestic ports from being undercut by exploited foreign workers who have been shown to be paid as little as $2 an hour.

The Government must prevent the loss of these Australian jobs by not issuing temporary licenses for any replacement ships that don’t have Australian crews under Australian conditions on the leg between Port Hedland and Port Kembla.

This cynical move is against the intent of existing maritime laws, which requires the Government to uphold the national interest as Labor would.

The iron boat trade has for more than 100 years secured Australian industry in times of war and peace and is absolutely essential for our economic independence and national security.
THURSDAY, 17 JANUARY 2019

Jan 14, 2019

Media Release – Labor Will Rescue Kakadu – Monday, 14 January, 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $220 million in infrastructure and community development projects to dramatically improve Kakadu National Park as a tourist destination and secure the future of the township of Jabiru.

Mr Shorten will travel to the Northern Territory on Sunday evening and visit Kakadu on Monday as one of Labor’s long planned first official events of the year. He will be joined by Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Michael Gunner, Member for Lingiari Warren Snowden, Member for Solomon Luke Gosling, Chair of ALP First Nations Caucus Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Traditional Owners.

Labor will invest:

  • $100 million to upgrade four key access roads in the Kakadu National Park, to allow for year-round access to key sites in Kakadu;
  • $44 million for environmental and national park infrastructure upgrades, including work to tackle invasive species, better fire management, and improved camping facilities and car parking;
  • $25 million for a new Kakadu visitor and world heritage interpretive centre in Jabiru;
  • $2.5 million to improve mobile connectivity in the Park, for increased visitor safety and better reception for locals;
  • $2.5 million for a new Tourism Masterplan to help ensure Kakadu remains a world tourism leader and continues to grow visitor numbers;
  • $45 million to undertake urgent asbestos remediation work in Jabiru; and
  • $1 million for a new roads strategy to be developed to improve safety on Kakadu’s remote roads.

There has been a great deal of work done by the Northern Territory government and stakeholders on improving tourism in Kakadu and helping Jabiru transition from mining to tourism. We applaud the Chief Minister Michael Gunner and his government for undertaking this important work.

Kakadu is one of Australia’s most recognisable tourist destinations and a World Heritage listed environmental and cultural site.

Cared for by its Aboriginal custodians for 65,000 years, Kakadu is home to spectacular scenery, pristine environment, and immense cultural value. It is a natural wonder that should be celebrated and shared with the world.

With the Ranger mine coming to an end in the next few years, Jabiru’s businesses and residents face an uncertain future. They need economic activity and jobs for their region – and that means more tourism.

Because the upgrades that the national park desperately needs have been ignored for too long, fewer tourists are visiting and Kakadu has gone backwards.

In the late eighties, 300,000 people were visiting Kakadu every year. Now it has about 185,000 visitors a year – and international visitor numbers have plummeted.

Kakadu National Park is a key driver of the Territory economy and supports jobs. A recent NT Government study noted that tourism supported around 1,700 jobs – or 18 per cent of total employment – in Kakadu and surrounding regions. Tourism accounts for around 10 per cent of the Gross Regional Product in regional NT.

We want Kakadu to be at the top of the list for Australian and international visitors – and Labor will help make that happen.

The local Traditional Owners have developed a blueprint for the future of Kakadu and Jabiru – for more investment, more tourism and more jobs. Labor is backing this blueprint.

A Shorten Labor Government will:

Invest $100 million to upgrade four key access roads in Kakadu National Park – allowing for year-round access to key tourist destinations in Kakadu. 

Labor will upgrade:

  • Jim Jim Falls Access Road;
  • Gimbat Road;
  • Gunlom Falls Access Road; and
  • Maguk Gorge Access Road.

These roads are currently unsealed, which means they have to be closed for long periods during the wet season, shutting out tourists.

Upgrading the roads will make it easier for people to access key environmental and cultural sites, and allow for accommodation and visitor facilities to be provided for the areas.

Making sure these destinations are open year-round will help boost visitor numbers to Kakadu.

Invest $44 million for national park infrastructure and heritage upgrades. 

Labor will provide Kakadu National Park with funding to:

  • Upgrade existing camp sites and build new camp sites;
  • Upgrade car parks;
  • Refurbish and improve visitor amenities throughout the national park; and
  • Upgrade signage to make it easier and safer for visitors to travel through the national park.

Some of this funding will also be used for environmental management works – such as traditional burning, weed control, management of feral animals, and crocodile management.

Road safety is a huge issue in Kakadu, with nine people killed on the roads in the first 10 months of 2018. We will invest $1 million in a new Kakadu roads strategy, consulting with experts to improve safety for locals and tourists.

Invest $25 million to build a new Kakadu visitor centre

A new visitor centre in the Jabiru township will connect to transport routes in the national park, securing Jabiru’s position as the gateway to Kakadu.

It will be a World Heritage and Interpretative Centre for the park’s visitors, and also house an art store, museum store, café and function space – as well as provide for further commercial opportunities.

Invest $2.5 million to improve mobile phone reception in the national park

There is currently no mobile coverage in most of Kakadu National Park, and limited coverage in Jabiru and surrounding areas.

This investment, which will be matched by the Northern Territory Government, will improve mobile phone coverage for the region – making Kakadu a more attractive and safer destination for visitors, and improving life for residents and businesses.

Invest $45 million for urgent asbestos removal and remediation works in Jabiru. 

There is remnant asbestos in the wall sheeting of many residential and commercial properties in Jabiru, as well as in water and sewerage pipes.

These funds will be used to deliver a 10-year program of asbestos removal and remediation.

Invest $2.5 million in a new Kakadu Tourism Masterplan 

The masterplan will help bring all of these ideas together to ensure the best result is delivered for Kakadu.

As well as roads, access, park infrastructure and a healthy environment, the masterplan will also look at how to increase visitor numbers and access tourist markets in Australia and around the world.

Labor believes Kakadu National Park and Jabiru have a bright future.

While Scott Morrison and the Liberals have been fighting themselves in Canberra, locals have been left waiting to hear if his government will support the Jabiru masterplan.

With a Shorten Labor Government, the future of Jabiru and Kakadu is guaranteed.

 

Dec 28, 2018

Media Release – Labor Will Expand Geebung Train Station Park and Ride – Friday, 28 December 2018

Federal Labor will invest $4 million to expand Park and Ride facilities at Geebung train station to ease parking shortages and encourage more commuters to use public transport.

Federal Labor’s investment will be drawn from its $300 million National Park and Ride Fund for new or expanded car parks at public transport hubs.

The Queensland State Labor Government is already investing $3 million to double the capacity of the existing Geebung Station car park to 70 spaces.

Federal Labor’s commitment will add up to 70 extra spaces, again doubling capacity.

Across suburban Australia, commuters are struggling to find parking spaces at train stations and are having to park in nearby streets, causing further congestion.

Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said Labor’s commitment to improving Park and Ride facilities was a sensible response that would make a real difference for commuters and people living near train stations.

“We’ll not only invest in new public transport services, but also deliver practical measures to help commuters get to work with a minimum of fuss, including through our new Park and Ride Fund,’’ Mr Albanese said.

“Public transport isn’t just about the train line or bus route itself. It’s also about the surrounding infrastructure that makes it work for local residents.’’

Mr Albanese said the Geebung announcement followed Labor’s previously announced plans for car park upgrades at Mango Hill, Narangba and Northgate train stations.

Labor candidate for Lilley Anika Wells said Federal Labor had already committed to a range of major infrastructure projects in South East Queensland, including the transformative Cross River Rail Project to create a second rail crossing of the Brisbane River in the city’s CBD.

“While the Morrison Government has focused on itself and its internal tensions, we’ve been working with communities to come up with projects that will reduce traffic congestion and make life easier,’’ Ms Wells said.

“Labor has always been the party which in Government has delivered nation-building infrastructure here on the Northside. I hope to be able to deliver the Geebung project for Lilley as a member of a Shorten Labor Government.”

In addition to Cross River Rail, key infrastructure projects that would be funded by a Shorten Labor Government include the Rockhampton Ring Road, the Mackay Ring Road, the M1 Upgrade, Gladstone Port Access Road, Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road Upgrade and the extension of the Bruce Highway to Cairns Airport.

Dec 14, 2018

Media Release – Labor Leading From Opposition on Linkfield Road Overpass – Monday, 14 December 2018

Labor welcomes the Morrison Government’s decision to match our commitment to duplicate the Linkfield Road overpass on the Gympie Arterial Road.

Currently two lanes merge into one just before drivers turn north on to the Gympie Arterial Road, making it a notorious stretch for accidents and traffic congestion.

The bottleneck has been identified by the state’s peak roads body, the RACQ, as a key priority for government action.

In August Federal Labor committed to partner with the Palaszczuk Government to build the overpass as part of our plan to tackle traffic congestion, which acts as a hand brake on productivity and is reducing our quality of life.

The Coalition’s decision to copy our policy is great news for residents of the electorates of Dickson and Petrie because it guarantees this important project will proceed.

This is another example of Labor leading from Opposition.

While Coalition MPs have spent this year attacking each other, we’ve been hard at work on policy development to attack problems that matter to Australians, including traffic congestion.

After five years of cuts to infrastructure investment, it is no surprise that the Coalition is now copying Labor’s common sense plans.

But to make an even bigger impact on traffic congestion in South-East Queensland, Prime Minister Scott Morrison should also adopt Labor’s plan to invest in Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project, which the Coalition foolishly cancelled when it took office in 2013.

Dec 13, 2018

Media Release – Inland Rail start 827 days late – Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Labor welcomes today’s planned sod-turning on the Inland Rail project from Brisbane to Melbourne, but notes the Coalition had promised to commence the project more than two years ago.

Eight hundred and twenty-seven days have passed since the Coalition’s promised start date, which it committed to via a media release during the 2013 election campaign.

The inaction came despite the former Labor Government having invested $600 million to upgrade existing lines that will form part of Inland Rail route and having provided $300 million in the 2013 Budget to take the project forward.

In spite of the time delay, there has still been inadequate consultation with farming communities and there is real concern about the route of the project.

It is also the case that the line doesn’t go to the Port of Brisbane, stopping 38km short at Acacia Ridge.

The Nationals have used this project to seek political support, but have let down regional Australia by failing to put in the hard work needed to drive its delivery.
THURSDAY, 13 DECEMBER, 2018

Dec 11, 2018

Media Release – IA Report Exposes Government’s abysmal record on Infrastructure – Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

The Planning Liveable Cities report, which was released today by Infrastructure Australia, echoes Federal Labor’s concern that the Coalition Government has failed to ensure investment in vital infrastructure keeps pace with the growth of our cities.

The report tells us that “our largest cities are playing catch-up in delivering infrastructure to support population growth” and it calls on government to act now to better sequence infrastructure to meet the needs of urban communities.

Exacerbating this challenge is the fact that under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government, Federal infrastructure grant funding will fall off a cliff over the next four years, from $8 billion in 2017-18 to $4.5 billion in 2021-22.

Research by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office shows that under the current Coalition Government, Federal grants will halve over the next four years from 0.4 per cent of the national GDP, to 0.2 per cent.

The truth is that this ATM Government’s failure to invest in infrastructure is threatening the liveability of our cities.

The Infrastructure Australia report also calls on more collaborative governance structures across the three tiers of government, meaningful community engagement and evidence-based decision making to guide investment in cities.

These principles underpin Labor’s City Partnerships policy, which was announced in July this year and would replace the ATM Government’s weak, politicised City Deals.

Labor’s City Partnerships program would ensure a bottom-up model, acknowledging that local communities and their elected representatives need to be central players in decision-making about their local priorities and strategic vision.

Currently, there are no clear guidelines about how City Deals work and no mechanism for independent oversight to evaluate their effectiveness.

Labor would address this deficiency by re-establishing the Major Cities Unit within the independent Infrastructure Australia and requiring it to use transparent measures to both recommend and assess the progress of City Partnerships.

The Major Cities Unit will also refresh the National Urban Policy that Labor released when last in government to ensure City Partnerships align with its objectives in areas like sustainability and smart technology.

Labor would also establish an expert panel to update strategic planning guidelines for cities and, in consultation with the Minister, develop guidelines for City Partnerships including a focus on benefits to the economy.

Federal Labor is serious about ensuring our cities are productive, sustainable and liveable places for everyone and is committed to collaborating with communities and the three tiers of government to deliver this.

TUESDAY, 11 DECEMBER, 2018

Dec 11, 2018

Media Release – Coalition Plays Catch-Up on Mackay Ring Road – Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

The Coalition’s re-announcement of investment for the Mackay Ring Road is evidence it is prepared to delay actual investment in infrastructure to suit his political needs.

The project, which the Government “announced’’ today, was actually funded in the 2018 Budget in May when Malcolm Turnbull was Prime Minister.

But rather than get on with the work when the money was available, Prime Minister Scott Morrison deliberately chose to delay releasing the funding until closer to the upcoming federal election, along with a range of other projects including the Rockhampton Ring Road.

Federal Labor has already committed funding for the Mackay and Rockhampton Ring Road projects.

Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said that while the Coalition had been consumed by its internal brawling, Labor had been leading from Opposition by developing a plan to tackle traffic congestion right across the country.

“By contrast, Mr Morrison has been cutting infrastructure investment,’’ Mr Albanese said.

“The independent Parliamentary Budget Office says that on current planning, Federal infrastructure grants to the states as a percentage of GDP will halve over the next four years to 0.2 per cent.

“That is absurd at a time when our nation is under population pressure, our capital cities are clogged by traffic congestion and our regions need infrastructure investment to boost productivity and drive jobs growth.’’

Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan said the Mackay Ring Road would make a huge difference to her community by opening up more export opportunities for local commerce and industry, getting the trucks off our local roads, and of course, creating more construction jobs for our region.

“I’m proud that Labor understands that we need to just get on with this project. I haven’t needed to resort to silly stunts or spending taxpayer dollars on full-page ads in the paper.’’ Ms Hassan said.

“While the Coalition has been sitting on its hands, one thing is certain – a Shorten Labor Government would work with Queensland Labor Government to get this project off the drawing board as soon as possible.’’
TUESDAY, 11 DECEMBER, 2018

Dec 5, 2018

Media Release – Senate to Examine Airport Fire Safety – Wednesday, 5 December, 2018

Labor has successfully moved to establish a Senate inquiry into the adequacy of specialist Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (ARFFS) at the nation’s airports.

ARFFS, run by Airservices Australia, provide trained specialists who rescue people and property from aircraft crashes and other emergency incidents at airports. In 2017-18 they responded to about 6900 incidents.

The Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport committee inquiry will focus on whether current safety standards at airports, including provision of ARFFS,  are adequate to maintain the safety of both the travelling public and emergency personnel.

The committee will also consider whether regulators including the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Airservices Australia are enforcing internationally agreed safety standards at Australian airports.

The inquiry follows the current Government’s failed 2016 attempt to remove ARFFS from a number of regional airports including Ballina, Gladstone, Hamilton Island, Ayers Rock, Karratha and Port Hedland.

Australia has an enviable record of aviation safety. It is important that the Parliament plays is role in maintaining that record.

The inquiry will examine:

The provision of rescue, firefighting and emergency response at Australian airports with particular reference to:

  1. Current standards applicable to the provision of aerodrome rescue and firefighting services relating to community safety and the emergency personnel safety;
  2. The standards for the provision of emergency response at Australian airports including emergency medical response and response to structure fires and other incidents;
  3. Comparison of safe systems of emergency response standards and systems of work for firefighting and rescue operations for structure fires, aircraft rescue, emergency medical response and other emergency incidents;
  4. Consideration of best practice including relevant international standards;
  5. The mechanisms and criteria for the review of the provisions of safety standards for the provision of rescue and firefighting services, if any;
  6. A review of Airservices Australia policy and administration of aviation rescue and firefighting services;
  7. The effectiveness and independence of the regulator the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to uphold Aviation rescue and firefighting safety standards;
  8. The impact on Australia’s national and international reputation and aviation safety record as a result of any lowering of aviation rescue and firefighting services;
  9. Any other related matters.

WEDNESDAY, 5 DECEMBER,  2018

Dec 5, 2018

Media Release – Labor Pushes for Bipartisanship on Shipping Policy – Wednesday, 5 December, 2018

Labor has successfully moved to establish a Senate inquiry into Australian shipping to build bipartisan support to reverse the ongoing decline of our nation’s maritime industry.

Over the past 30 years, the number of Australian-flagged vessels operating domestically and internationally has fallen from about 100 to 14, with resulting job losses and a decline in our national skills base.

In July 2012, following extensive consultation with industry and unions, the former Labor Government attempted to revive shipping with a reform package including tax concessions and training assistance.

But in 2013 the incoming Coalition Government took a new approach, proposing changes that would have destroyed the domestic shipping industry by allowing foreign vessels paying crews third world wages to compete with Australian vessels paying their crews Australian-level wages.

Since the Senate rejected that legislation in 2015, the Government has allowed the industry to drift.

As an island nation which relies on shipping to move 99 percent of its imports and exports, it is in Australia’s economic, environmental and national security interests to maintain a vibrant maritime industry.

It is time for all political parties to work with industry and employee representatives to end the policy inertia and collaborate to find an approach that will secure the future of Australian shipping.

The inquiry by the Senate’s Rural Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee offers a genuine opportunity for the Parliament to put the national interest ahead of political considerations and find a way forward.

The inquiry will examine:

The policy, regulatory, taxation, administrative and funding priorities for Australian shipping, with particular reference to:

  1. New investment in Australian ships and building a maritime cluster in Australia;
  2. Establishment of an efficient and commercially oriented coastal ship licensing system and foreign crew visa system;
  3. Interaction with other modes of freight transport, non-freight shipping and government shipping;
  4. Maritime security, including fuel security and foreign ship and crew standards;
  5. Environmental sustainability;
  6. Workforce development and the seafarer training system;
  7. Port infrastructure, port services and port fees and charges; and
  8. Any related matters.

WEDNESDAY, 5 DECEMBER, 2018

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Email: [email protected]

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